“ Publisher: Gotham New Media / Platform: Windows / Typing „
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With the boom of the digital age, it's more important than ever to be able to communicate within virtual realms. One essential skill is the ability to touch type. Not only do employers crave a worker who can type over forty words per minute, but everything from essay writing to forum posts take half the time when you can think and type at the same speed.
But it isn't an easy skill to acquire; after the hundredth 'ASDF' drill it won't only be your wrists waning; your interest in the learning process itself will plummet too. There's really only so many four letter anagrams you can type before giving up seems the natural course of action.
So imagine just for one second, a scenario where you could learn to touch-type in 90 minutes; not just half a dozen letters, but the entire alphabet in less than two hours. 'KAZ', or 'Keyboard A-Z', claims just this - the ability to master the keyboard whatever your age or aptitude. Having garnered an impressive 1 million users worldwide, and with clients including the 'Open University' and 'LearnDirect', can it really be possible to touch type in 90 minutes?
'KAZ' was a system created by a professional team responsible for producing over 55 RSA/NVQ level computer and office skills courses; that's 18,000 students in training centres all over the country per annum!
The 'Open University' trialled 'KAZ' over the span of a year on one of their largest courses. The result? They have since provided KAZ Typing Tutor to all students and tutors - that's over 7 years now!
HOW IT WORKS
KAZ's key to accelerated learning is said to be Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), engaging a multitude of brain senses all at once. Rather than learning through constant repetition of abstract non-connected words, KAZ uses a total of 5 short phrases (11 words total) covering the entire keyboard in a single 90 minute session; it really is as simple as that!
There are no 'beginner', 'intermediate' or 'advanced' modes because there's no need for them - you have control over the keyboard within minutes, not weeks. There are no gimmicky games, performance graphs or quiz modes, because adding them would be educational overkill.
In fact, KAZ is completely different to any other touch-typing software I've ever used; its sheer simplicity may be disconcerting at first, but it doesn't take long to settle into your first and, theoretically last, lesson.
I first used version 14 of the software on the Windows PC platform approximately a decade ago. Until that point, I'd become a proficient 'hunt and peck' typist averaging 35 wpm - not too shabby by all accounts. The reason I'd become so expert at using this system was my inability to find a tutorial package which came anywhere close to teaching me how to touch-type without giving up half way through.
Then, one day purely by chance, I came across KAZ being sold on a popular TV sales network. The claims offered seemed very bold to me, so rather than buying the package from the television, I decided to do a little internet research first.
After reading a positive cavalcade of feedback, I eventually decided to buy my copy from amazon.co.uk for a very reasonable price - roughly half what the shopping channel wanted for it at £13!
Upon arrival, I set aside the requisite 90 minutes and duly performed the session from start to finish. Ultimately, being both computer literate and fairly-well educated, I managed to complete the lesson in 75 minutes, although I wouldn't be surprised if total novices took a good two hours instead.
The lesson takes a very streamlined approach, teaching you what you need to know in a pragmatic fashion minus the filler and fluff; it's a refreshing change from the other typing tutors that still have you repeatedly typing out 'SAD', 'DAD' and 'FAD' after hours of effort.
Okay, you won't be FLUENT after the lesson concludes; far from it. I found it frustrating to suddenly be typing sentences at a snail-like 12wpm. But I persisted with the practice mode for several weeks and soon found my rate begin to rise. In fact, after a couple of months I'd managed to surpass my previous record and then some!
Currently I type approximately 60 words per minute (depending on conditions) and have never returned to my old 'hunt and peck' method. Without question, this is down to the KAZ method and its rapid teaching technique.
There's not much to dislike about KAZ; in all honesty, the experience with the software was remarkably brief considering, and the CD-ROM has spent most of its life sat at the back of my shelf.
While I enjoyed the straightforward, 'no-messing around' approach, I realise many people don't. Those who need fluffy reassurance tasks and constant hand-holding may feel the package doesn't support them after the initial 90 minute session.
The practice mode will certainly help you build up speed, but you may find it gets quite tedious after a short time. I admit that I found myself becoming bored with the training mode too; but then I felt confident enough to practice my new-found skills outside of the package and, unsurprisingly, real world exercises felt far more rewarding than throwing keystrokes at a simulation!
ISSUES / PROBLEMS
In recent years, it seems a few people have started to experience problems with the KAZ installation process; reports have emerged, for example, about compatibility issues with the latest builds of Mac OSX.
This seems a remarkable shame, especially when you consider the software itself is just a Flash based application and shouldn't require any special dynamic link libraries or executables to run correctly.
While I didn't have any issue whatsoever installing my copy, I do acknowledge this was some time ago whilst running Windows 98. I can only assume that updates have not been kind to the setup process.
If you want to learn how to touch type in 90 minutes, KAZ is the best option you have. No, you won't be tapping your keyboard at a hundred words per minute after an hour and a half, but the only thing stopping you from achieving speed is practice and muscle memory. Given a few weeks, you'll be confident enough to type essays and dooyoo reviews in no-time flat.
If you fancy giving touch-typing a bash, or previously experienced nothing but failure trying in the past, I recommend you give KAZ the once over. While I can't guarantee success, I can promise it's the best solution I've found on the market and it certainly worked like a miracle for me.